Jewish World Review Feb. 12, 2003 / 10 Adar I, 5763

Lewis A. Fein

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Evil's marching orders | There are several perfectly legitimate and morally proper reasons to oppose war against Iraq, though I personally do not share these individual explanations. For these arguments - about the efficacy of war, its fallout, the repercussions for Israel and the physical implications for America - do not define the antiwar movement's ideology. That would be too easy and politically clear. Instead, one viewpoint above all others - one odious reduction of previously honorable dissent and spiritually clean protest - now motivates this primary collection of extremists: anti-Semitism, the criminal footprint of blood and totalitarian hatred that, when translated across political placards and delivered amidst murderous mobs, repeats evil's old refrain -- "Kill the Jews!"

There are those who will say, there are liberals who will proclaim, "No. There is no anti-Semitic impulse among the thousands of citizens for whom Democratic politics means something; there is no Hitlerian desire to isolate Jews or exterminate Israel among the deliberative many, for whom tolerance is essential and disagreement important." And to these individuals - to the moral whisperers within the arena of chaos and bloodlust - humanity's response must be the same: that disagreement is not now, nor shall it ever be, a form of cheap heroism -- not when liberals stand alongside Leftists, all because both groups oppose war against Saddam Hussein.

And yet, decency only requires one honorable man - one prominent liberal - to denounce the vile hatred that infects the antiwar movement. Such a person does not exist. Such a person does not exist because politics trumps reason; morality bends beneath opportunity, and innocents suffer. Today, the fallen - the cheated victims of liberal piety and enlightened benevolence - are Jews; tomorrow they will be Iraqi children and enslaved women, all of whom lack a Florida election to memorialize their cause or another Leftist lie to further their agenda.

But there is, perhaps, a key beside the riddle of moral silence. That key is shame. For, upon victory's twilight and mankind's restoration, future generations will ask of those now living: "Mother, father, uncle, friend -- when tyranny threatened, when murderous dictators battled America and ruthless criminals terrorized liberty, what did you do?" Thus will follow the most uncomfortable seconds cowardice can possibly know, broken only by the most mundane and diversionary tactics weakness can muster . . . "run along, dinner's ready."

A more accurate explanation would concede the obvious: that, when Jewish blood became the price of Islamic terror and American lives the symbol of Arabic hatred, the immoral many made excuses. Excuses for theocratic laws and evil punishments. Excuses for the murder of Jews and the persecution of Christians. Excuses for the brutalization of women and the torture of children; excuses for evil.

Alas, these excuses are the fool's calculus -- a dismissive hand-waving against the announced crimes and exposed depravities of evil. But first one must admit there is such a thing as evil, as opposed to the generic characterization that Saddam Hussein is a bad man or anti-Semitism an unfortunate occurrence. (Bosses are occasionally bad people, high school principals can be bad individuals; Saddam Hussein is a murderous dictator, a killer responsible for the extermination of Kurdish refugees and Muslim dissidents.)

Upon the embrace of formerly exiled friends and reunited compatriots, Iraqi citizens will first and foremost concern themselves with the stark realities of genocide: that the closest among them are dead, numbers - inscribed with blood and balanced by dictatorial precision - in a vast criminal ledger. And then, after the refugees become citizens and the displaced regain their humanity, history will report the actions of a defeated and morally bankrupt movement. Stripped of excuses and devoid of ambiguous language, the Left will finally face its reckoning. Remember, the world is watching.

JWR contributor Lewis A. Fein is a writer and Internet entrepreneur in Los Angeles.Comment by clicking here.


© 2003, Lewis A. Fein